The church I pass by driving in and out of my neighborhood has a new sign this week.
"Live today as though you will face God tomorrow."
That message pretty much sums up the Christian faith for me…Fear. You better behave yourself before you end up in front of the ultimate parent figure that will dispense his judgment on you. On the one hand, eternal life in heaven, on the other, eternal damnation in hell. It’s pretty black and white. (I’ll skip the bits about purgatory and the "age of reason" that excludes children, as those rules seem to vary.)
It always seemed odd to me that a God would create us knowing that the large majority would ultimately end up suffering for all eternity. He created you with all your flaws, left you in an imperfect world to fend for yourself. He left you a book that has been translated dozens of times, to be interpreted by these same flawed humans, resulting in thousands of religions with their rituals and rules.
You’re on your own to figure out exactly which one might be right (hint…they’re all wrong) and what he wants you to do. If you guess wrong, he will banish you to hell to suffer until the end of time.
But he loves you….the ultimate contradiction.
Christians speak of morals provided by God, but the morals they follow are out of fear. The retribution of God is harsh, so we better obey. I see no value in morality from fear. Why be good to gain a reward? Seems like a selfish reason. Why not be good for the value of being good? Why do I need a God to threaten me into acting well?